Hitting out at the BJP, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday slammed the union budget as "anti- people" aimed at deceiving the masses and said the BJP talks about nationalism, but in practice, they are the ones who are selling resources of the nation to the private players. Iterating the demand for withdrawal of the new farm laws, Banerjee wondered if the Centre can waive off NPAs running into crores of rupees then why is it hesitant to write-off farm loans.
Earlier in the day, she had also called the BJP "a gas balloon alive only in the media" and a "washing machine" for those with ill-got money. She said those who have quit TMC and joined BJP have done so to secure the money they have accumulated.
“It’s a grim situation everywhere as Air India, Rail, BSNL, and other PSUs will be privatised. Job insecurity is at its peak. This budget is disguised, camouflaged in a way to deceive people’,” she said.
"They (BJP) lecture others on nationalism, but in practice, they are the ones who are selling the nation. They are selling everything from PSUs, Insurance, Railways and Ports. "This is a budget to deceive the masses. It's an anti-farmer, anti-people and anti-country budget," Banerjee said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of Uttar Banga Utsav in Siliguri.
Referring to the BJP sending a chartered plane to fly TMC leaders to Delhi for induction into the saffron camp, Banerjee mockingly said they don't have money to pay for the travel of migrant workers but have money to fly corrupt leaders in chartered planes. "During COVID period we paid for the transportation of migrant workers. But, they (BJP) have money for using chartered planes to fly corrupt leaders to New Delhi. This only shows their true colour," she said.
Banerjee said she had already decided not to give them tickets in the coming assembly elections had they stayed on in TMC. "There is nothing to worry about. The government of 'Ma-Mati-Manush' (TMC slogan) will retain power in the state … BJP is a gas balloon, alive only in the media. They have money and are using agencies to put up (party) flags on the streets.
Speaking at the state-level meet of All India Fair Price Shop Dealers Federation held at the Netaji Indoor Stadium, she also said, "Dacoits have suddenly accumulated so much money. Now they are approaching the BJP washing machine where they are entering black and coming out white. They are going there for the money and nothing else. I would not have given them the ticket to fight the elections."
In the context of the Rs 25,000 crore set aside for 675-km highway works, including the re-development of Kolkata-Siliguri highway in poll-bound West Bengal, Mamata said, “These claims are an eyewash. What will they do with the Kolkata-Siliguri road? Our government has given priority to road constructions and already made roads in North Bengal. We are helping with the Asian Highway connecting with neighbouring countries. We are doing all which is required for the betterment of the people but surprisingly there is nothing concrete for the welfare of farmers. They want to make roads ahead of polls. I would like to request them to give money to farmers and repeal the farm laws. No need to make rural roads, I will myself make it.”
Blaming Centre for step-motherly attitude, the chief minister said, “They made an airport in Assam operational but they are ignorant towards Coochbehar airport. Why can’t they make the Coochbehar airport operational? If they don’t do it, I will do it.”
"I have another complaint. The central government talks big. But the rice provided to the people by the FCI is rotten. The central government purchases several lakh tonnes of rice from Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh whereas it buys only 69,000 tonnes of rice from West Bengal. The state government purchases 45 to 50 lakh metric tonnes of paddy from the farmers, spends Rs 31 per kg to prepare it (convert it into rice) and sends it to be distributed free of cost by PDS. This is not there in any of the other states," she said.
Banerjee announced an extension of the ration dealers' licence from the regular period of one year to three years. She said that the government will provide Rs two lakh as compensation to the family of a ration dealer in the event of the person's death.
(With PTI inputs)